Friday, March 23, 2007

Putting my toe back into politics

If you can't stand the heat, everyone knows you should just get out of the kitchen. So I got out of the kitchen for a long time, not touching politics on this blog, because, frankly, I did not want to deal with the inevitable heat. Everyone's got their limits, and I usually know mine.

But this article in the New York Times by Steven Erlanger is pulling me out of political-blogging retirement. You all should read it. It is a very important article. It is something that Israeli papers should be writing about more, but they don't -- or, when they do, their articles are extremely one-sided. I have to give kudos to Erlanger who managed to write about a very touchy subject in a nuanced and balanced way. My only (picky) criticisms are that a) with all the qualifications about how "some" soldiers feel this and "many" people feel that, it would have been nice to get numbers or some sense of just how common this sort of discussion or introspection might actually be, though it's hard for anyone to really gauge that without a comprehensive, reliable survey of some kind, and b) He went to one panel discussion and reported on it, implying that the discussion reflects some widespread musings or tensions in Israeli society -- which I think it does -- but I would have liked for him to follow up and talk to more people on the street, or get quotations from right-wing leaders about their reactions to the fact that "some" or "many" soldiers feel deep misgivings about the things they are made to do in the West Bank in the name of the State of Israel. Oh, and c) I think that the copy editor's choice of headline is a poor one, further making it seem like Erlanger did some sort of wide-reaching survey.

The points made by both the panel speakers and their critics in the audience, as reported in the story, are critical for us all to understand and think about on a deep level. Have a Shabbat Shalom.

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